Since I read so many Ice Planet Barbarians books (review, more) AND I loved Ann Aguirre’s take on witchy romance (review), I decided that I was fully prepared to read Ann Aguirre’s take on alien romance. I may not have been as prepared as I thought I was, but sometimes you gotta leap into the unknown. The Galactic Love Series was a fun, wild ride. Aguirre sets such a fantastic tone with these books. It’s like, she’s totally aware that this is going to be bonkers but just goes all in. I love that. I mean, if you’re gonna write alien romance, you may as well go for it, right? (I’ve got to say, though, while these covers are very good and feature cool looking aliens, I don’t think they reflect the tone of the series particularly well. I’m not sure what would be better, but these are a little dark and twisty for what are ultimately pretty lighthearted books.)
Strange Love – Alright, y’all. This book was wild. First, while IPB’s aliens are all humanoid (and have six pack abs and, uh, equipment designed for human wish fulfillment), Strange Love goes for a decidedly more Praying Mantis-y alien. Or maybe lizard-y? The anatomical differences led to me feeling more like a curious scientist than anything else during the love scenes, but hey. I am fully in support of you falling in love with a Praying Mantis Lizard Alien if that is your jam, Beryl Bowman. When Beryl gets abducted, she has her dog Snaps with her. Once the pair are beamed up, our hero Zylar (who totally thought he was picking up his Alien Tinder date) gives both Beryl and Snaps some kind of translator chip or serum so that they can cross the language barrier. Unintended consequence? The dog talks now. And Snaps is so freaking great. Anyway, after Zylar realizes this has all been a giant mix up, he gives Beryl some options. He can’t take her home because… reasons… So he can either drop her off on a space station to fend for herself, OR she can compete with him in Alien Hunger Games to become his bride. In Zylar’s world, you have to prove your worth as a mated pair so you can get alien married and have alien kids. (The biology of the Alien science is unclear, but we don’t ask too many questions.) Unfortunately, no matter how well Beryl and Zylar perform in said nightmare tournament, they have barriers to face. This includes Zylar’s truly heinous older brother, plus society drama, and a renegade artificial intelligence system running amuck. Like I said- it’s a wild ride, but a fun one. I mean, how could it not be with a talking dog?!
Love Code– The renegade AI from Strange Love stars in the next installment of this series. Helix somehow evolved into a sentient AI, and in order for him not to be deprogrammed, he needs to run. Aliens are freaked out by independently thinking robots, as it turns out. Helix recalls leaving Barath to head for a space station, but everything is blank after that. Then he wakes up wearing a damn meat suit. Apparently he crash landed on Tiralan (the planet Zylar thought he was meeting his Alien Tinder date on) and some brilliant Tiralan scientist gal managed to put his consciousness into a biological form. It’s a little Frankenstein’s Monster, but, you know, with aliens. Helix is BIG MAD that he’s subjected to the horrors of eating food and, like, using the bathroom. A real peach, this one. But, his maker is super patient with him. Qalu is dedicated to her work with sentient AI- so much so that she has spent years working on her prototype to the detriment of her personal relationships. She’s always felt like a bit of an outsider in Tiralan society anyway, though, and when Helix literally drops in from the sky, she is excited for the research opportunity. Alas, as Qalu begins to catch feelings for her incredibly grumpy creation, she has some serious misgivings about the power imbalance and how weird that is (which, um, YAY I love when romance writers address this kind of thing). Their whole feelings situation and tentacled making out is put on hold when they find out Helix is being hunted by Toth Krag, notorious bounty hunter. A space adventure ensues. Oh! Gosh! I almost forgot about Qalu’s companion! She has a (for lack of a better word) pet. It’s a feisty little alien cat/bird/chaos demon who is good at calculus. Very much on par with Snaps for shenanigans and adorableness. Super weird fun ride. And bonus? Since the two are both the same type of alien, while the love scenes are weird, at least their, uh, parts line up. So yay?
Renegade Love– Remember that scary bounty hunter, Toth Krag? He’s the best in the business, and isn’t known for being merciful. Except that one time… Still he’s got a new job to do and debts to collect on behalf of the guild, so he’s going to find the debt ridden scoundrels of Volant’s Fabulous Spectacle and keep his reputation intact. Yara Duncan was never a huge fan of Earth anyway, so when she was abducted by aliens along with a herd of cattle, it wasn’t awesome but she’s learned to make the best of it. She now works for Volant’s Fabulous Spectacle where she basically just hangs out in a room, eats snacks, and solves puzzles. Sure, a bunch of aliens gawk at her while she does it, but again, it could be worse… Until it IS worse, because Toth Krag has apparently been sent to collect Yara as a bounty. Um, yikes. But Yara is the pluckiest of the plucky. She decides she’s going to befriend the bounty hunter. And then maybe a little more. There’s also a ragtag team of weirdos and a heist and it’s just a really fun book. Aguirre also took this as her opportunity to nerd out hardcore because Yara was tossing out Star Wars references right and left. Like the rest of this series, I found the love scenes sort of weirdly fascinating rather than titillating, but enjoyable all the same. I love your weird brain, Ann Aguirre. I’m going to be tackling the rest of that back list sooner than later.
That’ll do it for me today, Bookworms. I’ve got a giant backlog of half written posts and notes to self so perhaps I will get back on a regular posting schedule. Who knows. The universe is full of mysteries. Stay safe and healthy, friends.
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